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Caldwell PS Students Create French Vocabulary Boxes for the Visually Impaired
Caldwell PS Students Create French Vocabulary Boxes for the Visually Impaired
Posted on 06/18/2024
French Vocab Boxes

June 18, 2024 (Carleton Place, ON) – Grade 3/4 French Immersion students at Caldwell Street Public School wrapped up their Real-World Learning project this month, creating French vocabulary boxes to assist visually impaired students in the Upper Canada District School Board.

After discovering that the UCDSB could use more resources for the visually impaired, the class invited Julie Duchesne and Olivia Mulhall from the Vision Resource team to demonstrate what it’s like to be visually impaired.

Students tried on low vision goggles and then tried to pack lunches, colour and do puzzles. The class also played Goalball in the gym, a popular sport for the blind and visually impaired.

Discussing what they experienced, the class came up with the idea for the French language vocabulary boxes, called ‘La Touche Speciale’, where users would feel a 3D wooden French word, and then feel for the object in the box that matches. QR codes were attached to the back of the word for users to hear correct pronunciation.

Students reached out in the community by writing letters and asking for toy and plastic tote donations, with Canadian Tire and Walmart donating totes and money towards the project.

The class created themes for easy language acquisition, like beach and transportation, and spent months sourcing old toys and objects, with many family members and neighbours helping to fill boxes.

Students learned how to use Canva to create digital logos, Sway for creating QR codes and Tinkercad for creating 3D designs. Larry Mosgrove from Carleton Place High School helped by laser cutting the wooden letters and printing out QR codes and logos.

“The children were able to demonstrate many learning skills throughout this process,” said French Immersion Teacher Shauna Burton. “They showed responsibility, organization, initiative, and collaboration. They worked at finishing things by a deadline and creating a published product for the sole value of helping others.”

The class welcomed back the low vision team and presented their boxes and asked for feedback. “It was really hard for us when we did the blind test and it felt like we were low vision people,” said Grade 4 students Sadie Eden, who partnered with Brynn Thompson for their beach box.

“Most people that have trouble seeing things usually learn English before French, so we wanted to help them learn that language,” added Thompson.

The theme of Grade 4 students Rylan Perry and James Reynolds’ box was Les Animals dans L’eau, or water animals.

“I learned that people with low vision use braille to read and rely on their other senses like listening and feeling way more,” said Reynolds.

In total, 20 boxes were created and will now be used by the low vision team going forward.

“It is always a pleasure to be invited into a classroom where we can raise awareness about visual impairments and help foster empathy,” said Duchesne. “Our goal is to use the themed boxes to enhance tactile development and pass them on to French language educators, enabling them to further support French programming for visually impaired students across our board.”

Earlier this month Burton was also recognized by the UCDSB Trustees for her creativity on this project and received a Trustee Innovation Award. These awards recognize individuals who use creative and innovative practices in their schools or workplaces and inspire others to think about how they can adapt new practices and grow. Recipients receive a monetary award that can be used to continue or grow the project.



For media inquiries, please contact:   

April Scott-Clarke
Manager of Communications
Upper Canada District School Board
[email protected]

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